The Call of St. Matthew And What It Means To You.
Matthew (originally, Levi) was a public tax collector in Capernaum. Actually, Judah was under Roman Empire and all taxes were to be sent to Roman emperor. Because Matthew was taxing his fellow countrymen and actually cheating them as to make some profits for himself, he was hated by his fellow Jews, the same way (or even worse) they hated the Romans that were harassing them.
And yes, it is when Matthew had woken up, set up his table as usual and collecting taxes that Jesus passes by and asks him to follow him!
As Max Lucado wrote, "you could wonder what these two (Jesus and Matthew) saw in each other!". Matthew had been corrupted by love for money and greed. All he cared about was getting taxes, profits and pay tributes to his bosses as required. He was not only a taxi collector but a smelly one!
Jesus, on the other hand, was this grown up youth, poor from head to toe, maybe with old sandals on his feet, an old shirt (or robe) on his body, with no official job, residential room or some kind of possession. His poverty and Matthews desires at the time had nothing in common (were contradictory). And yes, Matthews unworthiness and greedy for money and his filthy means of collecting taxes and Jesus' modesty had nothing in common too.
And yet these men blended like nothing before.
When Jesus asked Levi to follow Him, he quickly left his work, forsook his taxing and followed the man who had nothing with himself but word (s). And yes, Matthew made a small feast and called up his friends to come and listen to his new friend, Jesus.
And so Matthew became one of the twelves apostles whose work from then up to now has brought millions of people to Christ. Historians say that Matthew must have preached for about 15 years in Israel before moving out to other nations. The book of Matthew is said to have been written by Matthew around 60 A.D.
What is the point?
We cannot just say that these men did not have or see anything they shared; what United them was much stronger than what could separate them. Later when asked why he had to associate with the evil tax collectors, Jesus said, "I came for the sinners and not the righteous ones". Yes, that was the relationship.
Matthew, the sinner, and Jesus, the healer!
Our God can use anyone for his purposes. He can transform the heart of even the worst sinner and cleanse him or her for His righteous works. If God found a place for Matthew, then He can definitely find a place for you.
It does not matter how dark your past was. It does not matter how sinful your life has been. It does not matter how unqualified you may seem to be. When God decides to change your life, He will definitely do. Just, like Matthew, may you listen to His voice when He calls and just follow Him? Yes, I know you can.
It said Matthew later died as a martyr in Ethiopia (not Ethiopia, the African country, but Ethiopia as a region). Scholars highlight that Matthew was a good tax collector and dedicated to his work of fishing men for Christ.
What else do you know about Matthew and how does it inspire you? Send your reply to firstname.lastname@example.org or in your comments here.
God Bless You.
The Complete You Ministry, We Believe In You